For the whole story, read this, beginning with Part 1. The condensed version can be found in Part 6. Links to the entire series can be found on the blog sidebar.
What has happened in the eight years since my fall to grace?
It has been an interesting journey. In fact, in many ways, it has been quite an adventure. Along the way, I've discovered several things:
1. Walking in the Spirit, or by the Spirit, is a day by day sort of thing. It's not just something I can decide to do one day and assume that I'll just automatically be doing it from then on.
2. I am easily distracted and prone to wander. Christ should be my focus, but it is easy to get off track and to start walking, not by the Spirit, but by my own efforts. And then there is always the danger of legalism or licentiousness.
3. God loves me, and His love is amazing and overwhelming. Because I am in Christ Jesus, I am not in any sort of condemnation. I love my children whether or not they are obedient; even more so, God loves me no matter how I "perform" as a Christian. His acceptance of me is based on Christ alone, and it's all grace. Grace is amazing. It's scandalous. Real grace will always make legalists angry, because it is so...undeserved!
4. People aren't God. Their love is imperfect. They still condemn. They still judge. I may feel all free and accepted as a child of God --- but that does not mean that people will accept me. Instead, they will tend to see my many faults and quirks and will struggle mightily in trying to love me despite all that...and they will often find that task overwhelmingly daunting! (This sounds so obvious, but it was actually a huge blow to me when I was reveling in my new-found sense of acceptance to God only to discover that other people who loved me were not as accepting.)
5. Walking in freedom does involve stumbling. At least it did for me.
6. The Christian life was never meant to be "safe". Just re-read the book of Acts if you doubt this.
7. It's important to hold on to the essentials of the faith firmly and to hold everything else very loosely.
8. It's better not to have "pet doctrines". It's best not to be too loud and firm in my opinions about disputable matters, because then God will no doubt see fit to change my mind completely and publicly. While these sort of about-faces are probably good for my sanctification, and often good for a laugh, I've grown tired of them.
9. All the rules and standards and convictions and non-optional principles in the world won't help you when the rubber hits the road. They have nothing to offer when it comes to grief, death, tragedy, or suffering. Jesus never fails. When I can no longer hold on to Jesus, He holds on to me.
10. Fellowship with fellow Believers should be more about Christ than about whatever external stuff or theological nuance is important to me at the moment. When the Bible talks about "like-mindedness", it is not talking about clothing fashions, nap schedules for babies, being "Truly Reformed", what sort of job the husband has, what sort of job the wife has, where the children go to school, what music one listens to, what computer one uses, etc., etc. Like-mindedness involves being like-minded in Christ, not in fads, not in externals, not in extra-Biblical practices, not in standards, not in convictions. True Christianity is far more about Christ than it is about us.
One thing for sure: despite all the ups and downs, life has been a lot more of an adventure, a lot more exciting, and a lot more fun since my fall to grace!